A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 18: The Passing of the Dream

Section IX: The Two Worlds

Read ACIM Chapter 18, Section IX (pages 393-97)

How does this little thought of separation try to maintain its delusional world?

In the first paragraph, Jesus goes on to describe how ‘the little ripple’ talked about in Section VIII tries to keep itself separate from God’s one ocean of Love. He emphasizes to us that the little ripple is just an insane thought: “Yet this wild and delusional thought needs help because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery. This is the little part you think you stole from Heaven.” (1:5-6) He also describes how this little thought of separation (the ego) tries to maintain it’s delusional world. He says that this little thought is: “surrounded by darkness, guarded by attack and reinforced by hate.” (1:9)

Jesus brings the cruelty and hate of ‘the insane little ripple’ to our attention so that we will become more willing to “bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness.” (1:1) We need to see the error in ego thinking (the wish to be separate) so that we will be willing to hand it over to the Holy Spirit for correction. “Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, the Holy Spirit needs.” (1:3) It is the Holy Spirit that will show us the difference between reality and illusions of separation. It is the Holy Spirit that will move us past thoughts of hate and guilt to an awareness of the innocence and Love that is everyone’s reality. As we learn to step back from our ego thoughts and hand them over to the Holy Spirit, we are brought from fear thoughts of division and separation to happy thoughts of union.

Why does Jesus go into such detail in describing how empty and meaningless this thought of separation is?

In paragraphs two through eight Jesus describes how the Holy Spirit brings the awareness of union to us. He begins by describing how empty and meaningless this thought of separation is because at this point we do not fully realize how dark and cruel it really is. When we desire specialness and the ability to make decisions on our own that the ego’s world appears to bring us, we do not realize the guilt, fear, hate and cruelty that comes with it. That is why Jesus tells us, “From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind that made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true. For you sent forth these messengers to bring this back to you.” (3:1-3)

Why does the ego hide ‘the circle of fear’ below the appearances of separate images?

Jesus wants us to understand how deceptive and full of hate the ego thought system is. On the surface it gives us images of autonomy and uniqueness. Below the surface appearances of separate images the ego hides the circle of fear. Jesus knows that once we really recognize the true purpose that is behind what the body’s senses show us, we will be willing to forgive, or let go of, the ego thought system of separation. We will no longer tolerate the pain, guilt and fear that go with it. This is why Jesus explains to us: “The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees, and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, the vengeance and betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it and keep [guilt] hidden.” (4:1-2) The ego’s purpose of the world is to keep the guilt that lies in our mind hidden by projecting it outward to a world that is perceived as outside us. By projecting guilt we seem to be relieved of the guilt that comes with believing in separation.

But Jesus shows us here why the technique of projecting guilt doesn’t really relieve us of the guilt. It only gives us serial ‘lifetimes’ of loneliness and despair. He tells us: “[Guilt’s] shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold [guilt’s] most external manifestations in darkness, and to bring despair and loneliness to it [our life as a separate individual] and keep it joyless.” (4:3) Here we see what resides in the circle of fear that is just below the surface of conscious awareness and why our ‘life’ scripts bring us the experience of conflict, guilt, attack, scarcity, sickness and finally death.

Why are we not aware of the intense guilt that still lies at unconscious levels in our minds?

Jesus wants us to understand why we are not aware of the intense guilt that still lies at unconscious levels in our minds. He explains: “Yet [guilt’s] intensity is veiled by [guilt’s] heavy coverings, and kept apart from what was made to keep [guilt] hidden. The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for [guilt’s] protection, which depends on keeping [guilt] not seen. The body’s eyes will never look on [guilt]. Yet they will see what [guilt] dictates.” (4:4-7) So here we see that the body, and what we experience through the body, was made to protect us from the intense fury of guilt that comes with believing in separation. All our made up stories of seeing the guilty ones outside us will not protect us, but simply keep us stuck in the insanity of the ego thought system.

Why is guilt still in our minds if it shows up in our ‘life’ stories?

This is why Jesus tells us so often that the guilt we see in others is not real. He often tells us that ideas of guilt do not leave their source, which means that if guilt still shows up in our stories, guilt is still in our minds. This is why, to free us from this insanity, Jesus so kindly tells us: “The body will remain guilt’s messenger, and will act as [guilt] directs as long as you believe that guilt is real. For the reality of guilt is the illusion that seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego’s thought system. Its thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind [guilt]. And then you see [guilt] as a fragile veil before the light.” (5:1-4) It is the Holy Spirit that shows us the light behind the guilt we see. “Let your Guide teach you their insubstantial nature as He leads you past them, for beneath [the clouds of guilt] is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows.” (8:3)

How are we shown the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness?

As we continue to forgive, or let the Holy Spirit show us the truth that lies behind our our projections of guilt, we are shown a world of undivided Love. “This world of light, this circle of brightness is the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you laid upon it.” (9:1-4)

We have believed in separation and kept the illusions of separation going through the deceptive technique of projecting guilt. Now we see that this is a useless and fearful journey. We are now ready to be done with these fearful and conflict generating perceptions. Jesus encourages us to continue on this healing journey of seeing only innocence with the Holy Spirit as our Guide. “Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you, and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by, and gently replaced by purity and love.” (9:6-7)

As we are shown the real world, how does the purpose of our relationships change?

As we continue in our daily process of letting ourselves be shown the real world, the purpose of our relationship with every brother changes. Forgiveness is our present goal, until every perception is “cleansed and purified, and finally removed forever. Forgiveness removes only the untrue, lifting the shadows from the world and carrying it, safe and sure within its gentleness, to the bright world of new and clean perception. There is your purpose now. And it is there that peace awaits you.” (14:2-5)

We need not be concerned about what lies beyond this important process of daily forgiveness. “Here you are led [to the real world], that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with Love, letting It be Itself. A step beyond this holy place of forgiveness, a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. here is the Source of Light; nothing perceived, forgiven nor transformed. But merely known.” (10:4-7)

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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